As usual, I can’t believe how fast the time has passed, and it has been almost 4 months since I last posted! Oh my! So, lots to catch up on.
Once we finished with the big plastering project (see last post), we put board and batten up on one side of the basement wall (left below), so we are almost done with exterior finishing (around the corner is waiting for a roof over the door). Our next project was putting bead board up on the ceiling of the south side (right, below). Tim cut, I did all the polyurethaning, and together we installed it. As usual, he was on the ladder and I handed him boards, tools, etc. We are so happy with the result!
By early October, the trees were turning colors, Tim was still rowing, and we took a day off to go visit the Shelburne Museum — a glorious day and a great place to visit if you get to Vermont some time! (See the unique round barn there at lower left.) And we harvested a bumper crop of butternut squash!
In preparation for winter, we got more “hard pack” spread on the driveway and lane, and prepared to construct a carport! It was a bit tricky to set the 9 posts square and vertical, but critical for avoiding problems later in the process…
Despite much cold, wet weather, Tim made a lot of progress by mid-November — rafters and purlins done:
Then we went away with friends for a week (a wonderful “do-nothing” vacation!). While we were away, winter came, with snow! Very early even for here. (And the deer came and ate everything green above the snow in the vegetable garden — several big plants of kale and the rest of the brussels sprouts, stems and all. Live and learn…) We finally had a couple of sunny days, so Tim cleared snow off the carport rafters (below left) and we shoveled out the space beneath. The next day was sunny and “warm” (well, a high of 34 degrees); we worked all day and got all the metal roof panels and the top roof vent installed — whew!
Tim made a “stop” to clamp onto the ends of rafters, which kept each metal roof panel from sliding off while he screwed it in place (you can see one of the clamps and the stop below left). We made a “story stick” (the thin white stick on the panel below) marked with the purlin spacing so I could mark on the metal panels where Tim would place each screw so it would go into a purlin, not into air! LOTS of screws.
We got half done in the morning, and finished by dinner time using head lamps. And just in time, as more snow came in the next day! In the snow picture below you can just see the car port roof to the left beyond the camp building, keeping the snow off the vehicles (yay!). And, of course, we did not make any electricity that day — the solar panels on the left are covered with snow. But on most days we are making a good amount and should be net zero over the course of the year.
Other events of interest this fall… I “moderated” a candidates forum focused on carbon issues in Vermont, organized by our local “Two Rivers Action Coalition” (TRAC) in which I am active. Tim rowed the last head race of the season on the last Saturday of October (in the 30’s and pouring rain!) and continued as a Lister for the town. I made a gingerbread house for the Library Raffle (see the end of the blog), that had solar panels and a hoop house in the garden! Lots of fun!
Our beautiful 1799 Town House needed repairs to the steeple, and I thought you’d enjoy some pictures of the process. After a lot of fund-raising and grant-writing, the repairs were done this fall. First, the steeple was prepared with some scaffolding for workers to stand on during the process. Then a huge crane was brought in, along with several expert timber-framers, and the steeple was lifted off and set on a prepared base next to the building, while lots of us came to watch! Here are some photos:
On the ground (below left), you can see timbers arranged to support the structure from underneath while repairs were made. The timber framers were fascinated to see the work of their counterparts from over 200 years ago! Also, you can see that the “windows” are not real windows, just painted black with white strips of wood for the muntins. This was typical for churches/town houses of this nature at the time. There are also a clock and a bell, but they are below the steeple. Local timber framers had constructed a temporary roof, placed on top while the crane was still there.
During the next several months (in between bouts of inclement weather) significant repairs were made, the weathervane refurbished, and Mike Hebb, a local wood-turner, made new wooden balls for the top (actually part of the structure). Amazing to think that the steeple originally was constructed in place, without a crane! The steeple was finally replaced just last week, but I don’t have a photo yet.
Our next big house projects are constructing the stairs and putting drywall on ceilings and internal walls downstairs, both of which we can work on during this winter. Tim has spent many hours figuring out exactly how to design the stairs, a bit challenging given that we didn’t know everything before we designed the timber frame, etc. He also calculated how much drywall we need, and last week it was delivered. Happily, the truck had a boom lift expertly operated by Shane (with cool joy-sticks on his belt) that brought the load close to the front door, so Tim and Shane were able to carry each pair of sheets inside relatively easily (I only had to mind the door). So now the southeast corner of our living room is full of drywall. Guess that will keep reminding us to get the work done!
We have had full snow cover since the week before Thanksgiving, so it really looks like winter. We have already had a few nights at zero or single digit temperatures, but our house and our wood stove have continued to perform wonderfully, so we are snug. Now we are getting ready for Christmas. And here are some pictures of the “green” gingerbread house:
Wishing each of you a wonderful holiday season!